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Wear a mask; prevent spreading deadly Covid-19

More than 300 people have died in the Berkshires from Covid-19. It’s very easy to put on a mask to protect others. It isn’t a guarantee, but it most assuredly helps.

To the editor:

Public health officials, nurses, and doctors study infectious disease throughout their careers. We don masks, shields, gowns, gloves, hand-wash, use antibiotics and vaccines, and any other intervention we think might help to protect us, our patients, and our coworkers. Since we have been doing this all our lives, we know that the ill effects of having let down our guard against germs may not show up for weeks or months after the mistake, when someone develops a serious infection or dies. We understand that it is easy for those who do not know germs as we do to underestimate their danger and the time it takes germs to kill.

I believe that most people who object to wearing a mask would not hesitate to stop at a crosswalk for a pedestrian. After all, it would be obvious that you could hurt or even kill the person. Furthermore, it would be on the front page, not only who had died, but that someone – you — had killed them. However, if you go to a store or party and none of your friends wears masks, it is very likely that, if some of them get sick, they will recover without long-lasting effects. You can all joke about it at the next party.

Meanwhile, some of your temporarily sick friends will have given it to other people. These people may also be fine after they recover. But someone, several persons down the line, weeks later, gets sick, very sick, and dies. Neither you, nor your friends, nor anyone else ever knows that one of your friends passed the germ on that eventually killed someone, so it is easy to imagine it did not happen.

More than 300 people have died in the Berkshires from Covid-19. Certain unidentified people originally passed the lethal germ to them, but we don’t know who; at least we can’t name them. In the same period, only about 10 people died in motor vehicle accidents. Many more would have died in accidents if those same people had decided it was not worth the bother, or it was an infringement on their personal freedom, to stop at a crosswalk to avoid harm to another.

It’s very easy to put on a mask to protect others. It isn’t a guarantee, but it most assuredly helps.

Charles Kenny MD
Stockbridge

The writer is the chair of the Stockbridge Board of Health.

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